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ala wrap-up 3. July 20, 2009

Posted by Katie in shoptalk.

And now, the final installment of ALA wrap-up. Only a week after it happened!

I started Monday at “Sex in YA Literature,” a panel discussion on exactly what it sounds like. Unfortunately, I had to leave the panel earlier than I wanted to because the exhibits opened and I promised to help my librarian friend navigate her first time through the exhibits. (For those of you who haven’t been to the exhibits, they can be ridiculously overwhelming. Seriously.)

So, I snagged some more ARCs and managed to walk away with a galley of Ally Carter’s newest book “Heist Society.” (Yes, I’ve already read it. Yes, it’s fabulous! Yes, there’s a non-spoiler review coming along.)

After that, I spent my morning hanging out at Little, Brown for a trio of author signings: Sarah Ockler, Justina Chen Headley, and Malinda Lo.

For the first time at ALA, I didn’t feel as awkward about meeting authors. I think I had finally gotten used to. I had asked the stupid question (Sarah Dessen), I had brought up the appropriate conversation, yet made it awkward (Lauren Myracle), and I had cried (Judy Blume). Seemed like there was nothing left to do, but be human!

Talked to Sarah Ockler about looking for sea glass as a kid and let her know that my teens refuse to let her book touch the shelves, they just keep checking it out. (Sarah signed two books — one for me, and one for my teens. Little, Brown was giving away hardcover copies of Twenty Boy Summer, but I had also brought my copy from home. I always want authors to sign the copies that I’ve read. That’s important to me.)


After a break, we got back in line for Justina Chen Headley. I was very lucky in that another librarian/blogger/exhibitor gave me a dollar to purchase a book (I never carry cash anymore, as a safety precaution) so I did get a signed book! Thank you, kind person, should you happen to come across this post somehow! Another break (and update in the Internet room) and we got in line for Malinda Lo’s signing.

Where I ran into two other bloggers: Kristen of Bookworming in the 21st Century and Drea of Book Blather. We kept each other company while waiting (somewhat) patiently.

(From Malinda Lo’s website. Her fabulous publicist getting the books ready for the signing. I’m the one in the red, cheerfully smiling, even though I was unaware we were being photographed.)

After that, a fun lunch with Drea and Kathleen (my librarian friend), followed by the YALSA Board Meeting, President Program, Odyssey Award Presentation. A break for food and travel and then the Printz Reception.

Where I asked Melina Marchetta (the award winner) if she had a ticket. (::facepalm::) And then proceeded to greet Libba Bray at the door, still holding back my whole “The Sweet Far Thing” rant. All in all, I was exhausted and skipped the reception after the award, instead opting for home.

Still, I walked away with another load of ARCS including:

  • Alphas by Lisi Harrison
  • The Well by A.J. Whitten
  • Break by Hannah Moskowitz
  • Posh and Prejudice by Grace Dent
  • Happyface by Stephen Emond
  • Soulstice by Simon Holt
  • The Other Side of Blue by Valerie O. Patterson
  • Crashed by Robin Wasserman
  • Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
  • Ash by Malinda Lo
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter

And that wraps up ALA for me. I’m getting ready to volunteer for some more committee work for YALSA, I’m just deciding where to volunteer. But, I know I’ll be going to Annual next year in Washington, D.C. and I couldn’t be more excited already!


ala wrap-up 2. July 16, 2009

Posted by Katie in shoptalk.

Day two!

But before that, I forgot that at the end of the day of Saturday, I met Lauren Myracle and we talked about boobs. Yep, read “Peace, Love, Baby Ducks” if you don’t know why. But she signed my ARC of “Luv Ya Bunches” and gave me a flower to boot. After I got home on Sunday, I showed my eleven year old cousin Briana (whom I bought Lauren’s book “Eleven” for this year on Briana’s birthday) who proclaimed librarians and this conference the “coolest thing in the entire world, omg!” I think I might make a librarian out of her yet. Mwahaha.


Sunday, I started off my morning at the Young Adult Author Coffee Klatch. Basically, it’s like author speed dating. Librarians and other guests sit at numbered tables and the authors rotate around them. I met the following authors: Richard Peck, Jeri Smith-Ready, Stephanie Kuehnert, Lisa Schroeder, Lisa McMann, Lorie Ann Grover, S.L. Rottman, Libba Bray, and Christopher Myers.

Whew. Basically, every author only got five minutes to sit with us and a lot of them had to introduce themselves to the librarians and guests. (I did research and had a cheat sheet under the table if I needed it. Yes, I am a geek.) So, I didn’t really get to say some of the things that I wanted to.

Like to Lisa Schroeder — I wanted to tell her that I have a teen who loves her books so much that she hides them in the library so that she can always find them. I know where it is and I call it “C’s Cubby.” I wanted to tell her that this teen has been a part of my Teen Book Club since I started, but that she never finished a book until “I Heart You, You Haunt Me.”

And to Stephanie Kuehnert — I loved “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” and could really see the book’s setting. I grew up in one of the towns nearby and it was the neatest thing in the world to see my world come alive in a book. Even cooler than the fact that Henry from “The Time Traveler’s Wife” got his library degree from the school where I got my library degree. And that’s pretty cool.

And to Libba Bray — “The Sweet Far Thing” wrecked me for days and I spent a lot of my time trying to understand the ending. Well, come to terms with the ending. But! Using Stephen Sondheim in the blog explaining why a certain character didn’t make it through the book was unacceptable! You cannot justify killing something I love by quoting something I love! It creates some kind of minor explosive in my world. (And ps – I have come to terms with it, almost appreciate it, and cannot wait to read “Going Bovine,” you amazing, amazing writer.)

SO. Those are just some of the stories that I wanted to tell. Additionally, I tend to get a little bit clamshell-ed up if I don’t rehearse my speech prior to. (Like I did Saturday night at Anderson’s. Yeah, I was the girl who asked Sarah Dessen if her hand hurt. ::facepalm::)

YA Authors
The YA authors after the Coffee Klatch. There were a thousand photos going off at the same time, which explains why not a single YA author is facing the same direction.

After that, I hit the exhibits. Where I met Judy Blume. And had her autograph “Deenie.”

I’m still reeling from it. Here we are, both a little bit misty, after I told her that her books changed my life.

Judy Blume, and me!

Judy Blume, and me!

Then, it was off to the program Making Stuff: Teen Craft Programs. After a slight snafu with handouts, I needed to go home because I had developed a raging migraine.

But before that, I managed to snag some of my most desirable ARCs: Fire by Kristin Cashore, and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

All in all, another excellent day at ALA. One last day, one last update to go and then we’ll start some contests.

ala wrap-up 1. July 15, 2009

Posted by Katie in shoptalk.
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Oh, my goodness. ALA was just such an amazing experience — and exhausting. I’m still recovering from it almost two days later. So, I’m going to take my time writing up what happened. We’ll start with Saturday, as it was my first full day at conference.


Saturday was my 25th birthday and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than hanging out with other librarians!

I started off the day at the exhibits. The exhibits are truly a magical land full of great library resources (like DEMCO, who sells library furniture and accessories — shelf tags & book ends, etc.), technology resources (like Tutor.com), publishers, authors, and free stuff. A lot of people use the exhibits for just the free stuff. I don’t. I participated in a ton of talking with vendors about different services they could offer my library.

But of course, I’m there for the books and authors, too!

Opening Ribbon Ceremony -- ALA 2009
A picture of the opening ribbon ceremony and the crowds. The exhibits are about ten times as big as what you see. I know, I know. Huge, right?

I grabbed a bunch of ARCs that were out on the table. The first few minutes of the exhibit are like the running of the bulls. Either keep up with the crowd or get out of the way. So I got dragged around to a few booths before I wound up in a line. I asked the librarian in front of me what the line was for and she said Catching Fire. I about near squealed.

We made a quick alliance so that she stayed in line while I looked for more books and vice versa. When I came back from looking though, she said that Scholastic had just announced that they would do the Catching Fire give-away at 9:30 instead of 10:00 which worked much better for me. So, I was the sixth person to get Catching Fire, at exactly 9:30…which is coincidentally my birth time. So, as I turned twenty-five, Scholastic gave me my first birthday present. It was pretty amazing.

After that, I had to head to YALSA All-Committee, where we touched base after who was covering what event. I really have to say that the Local Arrangements Committee has been such a wonderful learning experience and I am thrilled to have been a part of it (my term is officially over, other than filling out an evaluation!).

Next, was the Margaret A. Edwards Award Luncheon. YALSA sponsors the Margaret A. Edwards Award with School Library Journal and it is given to an author for their significant and lasting contribution to YA literature. This year’s recipient was Laurie Halse Anderson.

Laurie was an author that I grew up with. Speak was published when I was fifteen years old, and I read it as a teenager. It was one of those books that stayed with me. I re-read it about two years ago for my Young Adult Literature class, and felt like I was a teenager all over — the book was that powerful.

Being on committee, I was working closely with a lot of other librarians and it wound up coming out that it was my birthday. Additionally, it wound up getting to Laurie that it was my birthday. After her incredibly moving speech, a fabulous lunch, and the actual award presentation, Laurie and I got to take a picture. And then, she led the librarians who were still there in a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday.” This will remain one of the most unreal and fabulous moments of my entire life. I have a slightly blurry picture of the experience. I hope my friend passes on the video and (hopefully) non-blurry photo of me and Laurie later on this week. But until then…

Laurie Halse Anderson and me

I did one more pass at the exhibits before heading home. I had to get to Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville where Laurie would be signing with Sarah Dessen. After some car trouble, a hectic drive home and there, my sister and I waited for a few hours in a very, very hot bookstore before I got my books signed. I have another fabulous photo of the event below.

puppet program 031

And that concludes my first day at ALA. I found up with a fairly large pile of books including:

  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • NERDS by Michael Buckley
  • Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle
  • Liar by Justine Larbalestier
  • Troy High by Shana Norris
  • Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen
  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Rage by Julie Anne Peters
  • Going Bovine by Libba Bray
  • Ruined by Paula Morris
  • Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley
  • Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley

Not as large as some lists I’ve seen, but all books that I’m interested in. I also have doubles of some of these (sadly, not Catching Fire though), some of which I will be giving away on the blog. Stay tuned for further ALA updates!

a brief ala update. July 13, 2009

Posted by Katie in shoptalk.
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I’d thought that I would have a lot more time to post during ALA, but I have wound up going home exhausted every night and just crashing. But…I’m waiting before an author signing (at the Internet Room) and I thought that I would do a brief update…

I have met TONS of YA authors. Highlights include Judy Blume (an idol from my childhood, we both cried when I told her that and that she’s responsible for introducing me to the library — my school didn’t have “otherwise known as sheila the great,” so i went to the public library to get it), and so many more. I’ll post some pictures later on, too!

Additionally, my back is aching from ARCs and galleys. I have a ton of awesome ones to read for me and I got some double copies for give-aways here on the blog (and some for my teens at the library, of course). My favorite finds have been, of course, “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins and “Fire” by Kristin Cashore.

My favorite awesome beyond belief event today? Getting a galley of Ally Carter’s new series “Heist.” The lovely people at Disney Hyperion hooked me up with “Heist Society!” (Thank you, even though you don’t read this, Disney Hyperion!)

I’m having trouble with which books to start first! But I am now on my way back to Little, Brown — hopefully to get a signed copy of “Ash!”


ala annual, here i come! July 4, 2009

Posted by Katie in shoptalk.
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I’ve seen a lot of posts about upcoming plans for ALA Annual and I’m excited to see that a lot of other YA book bloggers will be going. ALA Annual is the American Library Association’s annual conference. It’s held in rotating cities every year (usually in June, except in Chicago when we have to be considerate of the Taste of Chicago’s schedule) and it’s a chance for librarians to meet up face-to-face to talk about current issues and trends in the library world. It’s also a time when vendors, booksellers, and authors gather to meet up with librarians.

It’s great fun! I had the opportunity to go last year in Anaheim in preparation for this year’s conference where I’m serving on the Local Arrangements Committee. Basically, we’re local librarians and we are serving as hosts/hostesses to welcome librarians and other conference attendees to Chicago. My schedule is tight because of this, but I am so excited about ALA Annual. Tons of friends, tons of new experiences and people to meet, and of course, tons of new books and authors to hear about!

And…Saturday is my birthday. And Anderson’s Bookstore, an amazing *amazing* bookstore, is hosting Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarah Dessen that night. I’ve already decided that’s the best 25th birthday present ever.

Needless to say, I can’t wait for Annual! Stay tuned for updates about the conference and maybe even some contests for ARCs.